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Original Issue

Forwards March

Tall, agile players like Minnesota's Kevin Garnett (right),
Denver's Antonio McDyess and Sacramento's Chris Webber have so
blurred the line between small forwards and power forwards that
we combined all the NBA's threes and fours when we used the SI
Player Rating Formula* to identify the league's best forwards.
Center Shaquille O'Neal spent his fourth straight week as SI's
highest-rated player overall, through Sunday, but six of the
NBA's top 10 are forwards. Best on this list is Garnett, who
averaged 26 points and eight rebounds in wins this past weekend
over McDyess's Nuggets and Webber's Kings.

One of the hottest teams in the league has been Houston, mainly
because of Charles Barkley and Scottie Pippen. Pippen, playing
point forward, was tops among forwards in assists through Sunday
(6.2 per game) while averaging 14.8 points per game. He was tied
for fourth with the Trail Blazers' Walt Williams among forwards
with 42 three-pointers and was also among the NBA leaders with
66 steals. Barkley, despite having missed eight games, had more
boards than Shawn Kemp or Karl Malone and more points than Paul
Pierce, Larry Johnson, Joe Smith or Sean Elliott. The league's
most newsworthy forward, Dennis Rodman, ranks 77th among his
frontcourt peers, proving that it's tough to rebound from
personal problems, even if one does have a gift.

--David Sabino


1. Kevin Garnett, Timberwolves 56.9 2
2. Tim Duncan, Spurs 56.0 3
3. Karl Malone, Jazz 53.8 5
4. Antonio McDyess, Nuggets 52.8 8
5. Shareef Abdur-Rahim, Grizzlies 52.0 9
6. Grant Hill, Pistons 50.8 10
7. Chris Webber, Kings 50.5 11
8. Shawn Kemp, Cavaliers 46.8 14
9. Juwan Howard, Wizards 45.3 15
10. Antoine Walker, Celtics 42.2 18
11. Tom Gugliotta, Suns 43.1 20
12. Vince Carter, Raptors 41.5 22
13. Keith Van Horn, Nets 41.4 23
14. Scottie Pippen, Rockets 41.4 24
15. Charles Barkley, Rockets 39.6 28
16. Toni Kukoc, Bulls 38.3 31
17. Glenn Robinson, Bucks 38.0 33
18. Detlef Schrempf, SuperSonics 37.8 34
19. Brian Grant, Trail Blazers 37.7 35
20. Clifford Robinson, Suns 37.2 36

*The SI Player Rating Formula: [2 x (3-Pts. Made + Assists +
Blocks) + 1.5 x (OR + Steals) + Total Points + DR + FTM - (TOs x
2) - (Missed FTs + Missed FGs)] x Games Team Has Played